English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.

Pitchcombe

Major Settlement in the Parish of Pitchcombe

Historical Forms

  • Pichenecumb(e), Pychenecumb(e), Pycheneco(u)mb(e) 13 ADiii 13 1211–13 Fees 1221 Ass c.1230 GlR 1230 Ch 1361 Ipm
  • Pic(c)helecumb(e) 1221 Ass 1255 Cl
  • Pinchelecumbe 1255 Cl
  • Pichenescumbe 1226–8 Fees
  • Pinchecomb' 1246 Ipm
  • Pinchenecumbe 1267 Glouc
  • Pychinco(u)mbe, Pychynco(u)mbe, Pychenco(u)mbe 1348 Ipm 1408 Pat 1542 MinAcct
  • Pitchcomb(e) 1584 Comm 1627 FF
  • Pytchcombe als. Pynchcombe als. Pynchencombe 1600 ib

Etymology

A suggestion of Ekwall's that this is from the OE adj. picen 'producing pitch, pitchy' is satisfactory phonologically but whether pitch-bearing minerals or trees or processes of manufacture of pitch were available here is extremely doubtful; a meaning 'pitch-black' is improbable in p.n. usage. We may therefore have either the OE  pers.n. Pīcel found in Pitstone (Bk 99), which also has one or two spellings like Pincenes - and Pychenes -, with -ene - due to AN  interchange of -le - and -ne - (IPN 107), or more probably the rare OE  fem. pers.n. *Pincen , found once in the acc.sg. Pincenne (Redin 42); in the latter case, in many of the forms, Pinchen - would have been reduced to Pichen - by dissimilation, as in some forms of Prinknash (170infra ); Lagness (Sx 94, DEPN), Wigglesworth (YW vi, 162) and Pickenden (K 417), etc. eventually undergo a similar loss of -n -. 'Pincen's valley', v. cumb .